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* Posts by Snark

69 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

Snark

Re: The Royal Society Christmas Lectures on computers

Most definitely... Or just go back to the BBC's The Computer Programme. That inspired these things to be interesting!

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Snark
Coat

Re: QUOTE: and could be learned in a day.

She was being very very busy choosing a nice dress and makeup for her TV appearance.

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Snark

Re: How is she the Directory of anything at 23 years old?

It's amazing how the government can simultaneously make a stab at setting back both peoples perception of "coding" and also of women in IT in one go. That interview is quite astounding.

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Apple CEO Cook breaks YEARS OF SILENCE, finally speaks to El Reg hack

Snark

This is...

The clearest sign of the impending apocalypse ever. Hell just froze over.

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Google embiggens its fat vid pipe Chromecast with TEN new supported apps

Snark

Re: UK?

I too bought the little Roku box thanks to a commentard here. It's back down to £29.99 in Currys/PC World again so I've just got one for a friend too. It does indeed do 4oD now as well as Iplayer and Channel 5 and netflix. Best though is the plex app which (along with a plex server) which really does work well and gives a very rich "view your own media" experience. Just wish it did LoveFilm.

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Microsoft's EAT-your-OWN-YOUNG management system AXED

Snark

I hate...

With a passion the bell curve. It's never made sense to me, surely a good tech company wants to hire over the normal amount of "extraordinary" individuals overachieving. Then you get told that because you were exceptional the previous years you obviously can't be this year (as no one can ever keep being excpetional!) so your goals are now even higher so you are just satisfactory or good this year... Others get praised for handing in a completely pointless management report which was the managers pet thing this year (or covered his ass). Morale? What's that?

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Netflix, YouTube video killed the BitTorrent star? Duo gobble web traffic

Snark

Netflix Open Connect caching

That is a really neat solution, they cope with both peering and caching (and caching in a well-engineered sensible passive lets not impact non-netflix users way). Interesting to see BT and Virgin both peer. It's almost like Netflix designed their solution with the knowledge that if they can't get decent response to their customers their customers won't stay...

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Lone sysadmin fingered for $462 MEEELLION Wall Street CRASH

Snark

Re: You'd be amazed at how many changes are made on the fly...

Amen, I remember that in my coding days linking up to the OMLX and DTB. The beta markets were dead, had no prices in them, had no volatility, no rate of change, no where near the amount of derivatives listed, etc, etc, it was a nightmare. Plus, as you say, the way a market kicks off when the AMM kicked in. In the end the only solution was to stub the in/out of the exchange and record real data over a period and then play it into the system and compare the "new" systems behaviour to how it should have worked. Couldn't capture API problems to the exchange (hopefully the beta site did that) but at least we knew how our system would react to certain inputs from external systems. It sounds like this would have spotted that one of the systems wasn't giving back what it should have done in this case but, it costs money, it costs time, it delays things.

Thank heavens I don't work in that industry any more as I really don't think I could stomach the JFDI attitudes knowing what was at stake if you make a mistake. Complete failure of management controls or risk assessment, sadly common across most industries.

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Techies with Asperger's? Yes, we are a little different...

Snark

Re: Author here (again)

Thank you for giving real life experiences, its really good to hear the goods and bads from "inside", including what those donuts in HR made you do. I've been reading the comments here with interest on everyones viewpoints and also (unsurprisingly) how many people in IT share common traits with Aspies.

I think thats a positive we can take. Some of the traits we have (liking problem solving, liking logical solutions, liking details, being slightly antisocial) are part of what got us into IT in the first place and I think they are part of the attraction for Aspies too, so we have common ground. It takes a little bit of understanding though to get over the faux pas caused by the differences in those traits though. I guess I am saying how hard-wired some of those traits are in Aspies. As a typical IT geek I am shy and like to work through problems without distractions, I get stressed when multitasking but hey I get by, its not how I want it. I hate interminate deadlines and conflicting priorities. My partner's daughter though, its not something you can dislike and "get over". I know I get stressed when idiot PMs conflict, she though doesn't relate those two things together. The feelings of indefinite deadlines (oh later, as soon as you can) induce real stress in her to the point of not being able to function, but that link to "that PM is an idiot" isn't there and so they just don't correlate.

It's simple things that make a world of difference when you understand that the person isn't just being obsintate they need things addressed differently. From our side, say definites, I need this by Xpm, we will do so and so in half an hour. Little things that don't take much effort. From her side, as she has been diagnosed it's the making conscious efforts to correlate what is being a difficulty as it doesn't come naturally (and as others have said, thats hard when you are concentrating) and so by understanding her brain works differently being able to try and jump that gap to "why is that other person being so obtuse its obvious why this is wrong", when well, its not. Also understanding that yes, I could quite happily go on talking about this subject for the next 8hrs but consciously deciding that maybe other people can't and putting a halt to it. I know it can be quite tiring for her but by meeting in the middle then you can bring out some fantastic talent. By her understanding quite why somethings are difficult then a lot of the frustrations go away.

The classic one is "I can't do that". Again, a simple black/white statement which can come across as obstinate, but by broaching the subjects differently, breaking it down to where the problem is (which might be as simple as I need XXX to do that or I have something else to do or any other number of other things) . Routine, things being consistent (I'd never ask an Aspie to hotdesk for instance) its all quite little, simple things which make a whole world of difference. Anyway thanks again for the article and getting people talking about it.

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Snark

Light, sound and touch sensitivity (and in a slightly different vein personal space issues) are common attributes in various degrees in Aspies I know. You definitely are not alone. Getting a hug from my partner's daughter is one of the major "wow" moment's in my life as I know how difficult it must have been for her.

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Microsoft's Nokia plan: WHACK APPLE AND GOOGLE

Snark
Unhappy

Re: Good phones and good OS

I agree, I do like my 620 though OS development is painfully slow fixing the foibles it has (i.e. non-existant) and MS is not a good company to run a hardware division.

I just can't see how this is going to be good for WinPho though. What competitor in their right mind is going to want to make WinPho's when MS make their own? This isn't going to be like Google producing good reference devices which people then spin, MS are going to screw it around for what they want and everyone else is going to feel cold-shouldered. They seem to see themselves as an apple who can own the whole ecosystem when they don't have the corporate structure to allow creativity. It seems a sad day all round. I'd rather have had Nokia buy MS's phone OS division ;-).

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Microsoft buys Nokia's mobile business

Snark

Re: Picture Ballmer in a big chair, stroking a cat....

You beat me to it! Though I was going to add "you can come home now..."

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Hey, Bill Gates! We've found 14 IT HOTSHOTS to be the next Steve Ballmer

Snark
Facepalm

Re: An obvious choice

Oh god, you had to remind me of Dick Brown's emails and... the... everpresent... ...'s

It just goes to remind me how badly someone can screw up a company.

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Google rolls its eyes, gives Windows Phones five more months to sync

Snark
Pint

Hey lets be positive

Two major tech companies squabbling and trying to put one over on each other and (even if some money or other bargaining changed hands) they've managed to avoid screwing over the customers that can be upgraded just to make a point. This doesn't make either less evil (the WP7 owners I feel bad for) but its quite refreshing for a change. Or maybe it's just Friday and I'm feeling optimistic.

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So, who here LURVES Windows Phone? Put your hands up, Brits

Snark

Re: Yet to see one in the wild

I'd heard about "ipad photos" but didn't believe it til I saw someone stopping outside the MGM in Vegas in the middle of the walkway and holding up their ipad. I guess there is nowt as queer as folk.

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Snark
Meh

Re: Windows Phone

Mine universe has a planet called earth and lots of people on it, sun rises in the morning, it's dark at night. Does that help identify it?

Seriously, a comment was made regarding stability and I stated my experiences, what is the problem with that? My Android phone runs CM9 and I know it's a little underpowered on the ram front and I experience those issues. My Nexus 7 is more stable, but it has more grunt and more memory. It does however still slowly over time grind to a halt even if I stop as much of the background crap as possible. This includes the lock screen taking forever to get itself together and the home screens to become usable. It's not all the time, it does take some time before this happens, but happen it does. I have not seen this with W8 phone. Your experiences with Android may be different, good for you, but we are also different people and use our devices differently. Just as when I bought into Android I wanted to hear many peoples view to see the range of experiences and get a feel for it, similarly with W8phone its useful to know what problems people are or are not experiencing. Unfortunately I don't see just calling it a stoneturd and bad OS adding much to my understanding of the issues with W8 or what it is that you specifically need or want to do that you cannot. Personally, I don't have any issues with the way the launcher works and don't feel the need to get upset I can't change it - how it is works for me. Is there particular functionality its missing for you? Or do you just want to be able to change it because "you can".

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Snark
Happy

Re: Windows Phone

I have to agree, I think my 620 has reset itself a couple of times but nothing regular, literally just that 2 or 3 times in a few months. This was compared to my Android which regularly had even the homescreens crash or freeze, various other weird crashes and resets. Oh and yes, grinding to a halt over time and apps leaving crap all over the memory card when they were deleted. This just seems to... work. It's quite refreshing for a phone to actually work when you pick it up :).

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Snark
Happy

Re: Raises hand...

I have a 620. I really like it, but I think Nokia are the best thing thats happened to WinPhone with the amount of apps Nokia have provided.

a) The build quality is really good, like really really good. It feels a lot more expensive than it is.

b) Phone call quality is excellent. Nokia excellent.

c) The battery life is pretty darned good for what I use it for, texts, phonecalls, email, browsing sometimes, as a satnav, a few pass time apps, looking up the weather, etc. In fact I've stopped bothering to turn off my data now (something I always made sure I did on my old Sony Xperia Mini Pro) and it seems to be very reasonable in how its handling background data.

d) The screen is really nice, the deep black and vibrancy of it make up for the resolution being lower than top end phones.

e) It's a nice size for the hand and pocket to make it easy to carry, easy to use with one hand.

f) The Nokia Here apps are really really good. The SatNav works better than my TomTom (it's faster, more responsive, recalculates quicker), it's easy to read and use. The augmented reality "what's here" apps might be a bit of a gimmick visually but they work well and give useful information as to whats around and are so quick to use I find myself using it more than similar apps on Android. These apps fit together and feel consistent.

g) The way WinPhone 8 brings together information on people you know from texts, calls, facebook, etc, is really neat. I wish it could group together some more info (like yahoo mail) but what it does, it does more intuitively than any of the Android apps I used.

h) WinPhone 8's model of partitioning user data feels a bit of a pain so loading audio, etc, in can end up being segregated by different apps and having to use SkyDrive. It is a more sensible security model though IMHO and stops the Android sprawl you see on a memory card, etc, after you've installed and uninstalled apps. It needs to be made more seemless, and allow you to make the choice to organise your files a bit more but, it has a solid base.

i) I would like to group my apps rather than have a list, but, you have live tiles instead and a single list does make things well, simple.

j) Livetiles. I thought I would never use these but actually people are starting to come up with good ideas. Weather updates from the Weather Channel, data usage/balance from giffgaff, Nokia's congestion for commuting. People seem to be starting to get the feel of it.

k) Apps. Yes, the app store is limited. I would love a Barclays banking app, I would love a proper Yahoo Mail/Messenger App. I can live without both though, its a niggle not a head banging the wall. I have some "I wish I could have..." but it doesn't stop me from finding the phone slicker and more coherent and together than my old Android.

l) App Store. It's a mess. Really. The layout is horrible, you can't see instantly what you already have installed, remote installing from the web fails half the time, you can't see what are "official" apps. The W8 (and W8phone) stores just need redesigning from scratch to how people use and search for things.

m) I would rather have Chrome than IE as a browser, but it seems to work ok.

So upshot - I wouldn't have bought a phone for Win8 phone, but I am happy enough with having decided to buy a Nokia 620 that just happened to have Win8. All the niggles are just that, niggles and ones which an be addressed if MS every listen to users about how they use their phone. On the whole though, they've done a reasonable job and none of them make me wish I didn't have the 620.

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Chromecast: We get our SWEATY PAWS on Google's tiny telly pipe

Snark
Thumb Up

Useful tip on the price drop, thanks for that. I popped out to Currys this afternoon and picked up a Roku LT. I was going to get the chromecast when it came out, but very pleased with it at that price - does everything I wanted (mainly Netflix, iPlayer on the bedroom but no aerial TV) and Plex media server streams very well from my desktop.

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Rejoice! Sysadmin day is... TODAY. Now get in here and win free stuff

Snark

Re: You get overtime?

I believe the argument goes along the line of refusing to work stupid hours without it and "we won't hire anyone else who can do it and our penalties for not doing the work are way more than paying you overtime costs". I am sure at some point insanity will prevail and they'll assume they can get it all done offshore to "save money".

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Snark
Happy

I'm going to celebrate in proper SysAdmin style. I've another 15hr work day planned due to completely unreasonable deadlines and understaffing. Still, I'll use the overtime to celebrate...

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PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

Snark
Megaphone

He speaks with a forked tongue

That Independant article is actually very interesting -

"Speaking on the BBC’s Jeremy Vine programme, Mr Cameron said what would be included in the filters would evolve over time. “The companies themselves are going to design what is automatically blocked, but the assumption is they will start with blocking pornographic sites and also perhaps self-harming sites,” he said.

“It will depend on how the companies choose how to do it. It doesn’t mean, for instance, it will block access to a newspaper like The Sun, it wouldn’t block that - but it would block pornography.”

Mr Cameron said he did not “believe” written pornography, such as erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, would be blocked under the plans. But he added: “It will depend on how the filters work.”"

So wait, he is relying on the ISPs to work out how and what they will block, so does this mean different ISPs will block different things (and will worry about the govt coming down on them for not doing a good enough job?). You are not going to block soft-core porn (yet) or exploitation of children and over-sexualisation of them (which in my mind is a lot worse than adult porn being out there). He doesn't think it will stop written porn which lets face is can have lots sicker stuff in it as it's made up and people can write whatever comes into their deviant little heads?

The kicker for me though is "may block self-harming sites". Wait, where did this come from? This was all to save the children from future child molesters! No, if this is an argument about whether these things should be available to our kids then make it an argument about this. I get sick of people using the "our children aren't safe" argument to push through whatever agenda they have. If this is about society deciding that this should be restricted as per shops then make it an argument about that, don't mix it in with the (quite real) war against child abuse. Don't water down the impact the real issue has by using it as emotional blackmail to get your way (if you don't agree you must be in league with the child molesters).

I don't disagree that self-harm sites are a "bad thing" and I'd rather have the opportunity to decide them blocked on a network level, but that definitely doesn't fit in with how this is being sold. It seems feature creep already.

If you want internet providers to be more responsible then fine, get them to offer family locks at no cost so people can use them without having to get too deep into their computers. Make consumers decide they want it though so a parent has to actively decide I want this for my children and takes some responsibility for their own kids. Make them think about what it can and can't do as they've decided to turn it on.

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Microsoft caves on Xbox One DRM and used-game controls

Snark

Re: One downside

This is Microsoft, you think they cared about what developers thought in the same way they cared about consumers thoughts?

A whole chunk of functionality is changed, i.e. having to have a disk based game installed and the disk no longer used. It wouldn't surprise me if the whole "sharing games" on the cloud was tightly integrated in the fact that the console/cloud knew what games you had. Turn it off for one, turn it off for all. Yes it doesn't have to be coded like that but what are the odds that MS (in their we are right attitude) didn't decide it wasn't necessary to have it as a per game feature? It's much easier just to take out the whole subsystem than rewrite it. This stinks to me of that, which makes the "lend them the disk, the disk must be in the drive" at the core of this.

It's still a shame though, and frankly I don't feel that sorry for the developers in this. It had a deliberate limitation, only one person could be sharing it at a time. I know with my kid and their friends as soon as some of them had played a good game a few times they would have been frustrated by not all being able to play together and would have nagged their parents for the game or saved up. With games at the prices they are you want to be damn sure you want to play the game before forking out, this would have been great advertising. I know my kid was excited by the prospect of if he got a game he could play with a friend and not wait until everyone was going to buy it, so would have wanted to buy more.

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Snark
Meh

One downside

I know I am going to get massively downvoted for this but anyway :).

Whilst this was appallingly handled. dreadfully drip-fed information to the community, and terribly high-handed, there is one shame about the U-turn. I actually liked the trade off of "you can't resell the game" with "you can share the game with upto ten people in your family, with one of them playing at anytime on their console (and your console always being able to play the game, whoever was on it).

With the price of games nowadays I could see the attraction of buying a game once and actually being able to play it with my kid across Xbox live, rather than having to fork out twice. He'd also have enjoyed it with his friends, them getting to play the game with him one at a time and then if they liked it, go get it.

Some good technical ideas, badly thought out in business execution, badly marketed. Sounds like MS at the moment.

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Windows 8: At least it's better than ‘not very good’

Snark
Happy

Warming...

I hated it when I tried the W8 consumer preview. I swore I'd never use it. As I've bought my kid a shiny laptop for Christmas I thought I'd better be able to use it when he asks questions so decided to put it on my laptop (not desktop) for the cheap as chips upgrade price.

I am ashamed to admit I am warming to it. I still wouldn't want metro ^H ^H ^H whatever its called on my desktop but I've found myself using it for casual things on my laptop. Email. The web. Apps I've downloaded. General non-worky stuff. I could see my Mum using it, or people that generally do one thing simply and then do another. Yes, not people that use a computer day in day out and run up multiple spreadsheets and stuff, but the iphone, tablet generation who are really consumers.

I've put back the start button for when I'm in "desktop" mode so I launch all my full apps from that. I use tiles for quick updates, quick emails, browsing, casual stuff and it feels nice and clean. Maybe it's because since the preview I bought a tablet so am used to the tablet way of "this is taking my full attention". I'd love it to have an "official" start menu to allow for the fact that yes we do work two different ways, but its not as awful as I thought, and its quite painless when my brain isn't in techie mode.

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Woz: Cloud computing trend is 'horrendous'

Snark
Thumb Up

Sanity

Someone just shouted out at the emperors new clothes. If we all shout out enough maybe someone will listen. Nah, there is money involved so they won't.

I see the clouds as something like buying from ebay or a market. I take a risk because of the cost, if I lose out because I buy a lemon then fair enough. I wouldn't invest my business or my future on it. if it's online backup, compute power I couldn't afford otherwise, or other stuff then fine. If it goes bang I am inconvenienced or can carryon. If Amazon goes titsup so I lose netflix and grumble, but it won't do more than inconvenience me. I wouldn't want to use the cloud for things I couldn't live with out.

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Software bug flattens NYSE trader

Snark
Alert

Re: What Cantor’s e-Speed taught me about the frailties of HFT!

It's been nearly 17 years since I was in that business (and I don't miss it a bit) but I can tick off everyone one of your three points as being the bane of my life at the time.

In the particular exchanges I was dealing with, their "test" market were so dead often I'd be the only price in there. I'd have to use two different "test" trader accounts to trade against myself to get anything moving at all. Liquidity, zero, volatility, zero, That just can't compete against the speed of a swiftly moving market. In the end the best way of testing was to record the live feeds from the exchange of market movement then play them back through our test systems, bypassing the exchange itself completely. I'd like to have split off the feed live into our real trading system and dummy trading system to compare them, but I always decided physically disparate systems was the ultimate firewall "just in case" something went wrong.

I hope the exchange test systems have got better.... but knowing how secretive everyone was about revealing what their systems could do... I suspect everyone will still be holding back.

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Google to bring Raspberry Pi to Bash Street

Snark
Thumb Up

Re: 100 teachers over 3 years?

Google have publicly criticised how we do things now, they are putting some money in to show how they think it should be done rather than just talking about it... That gets a big thumbs up from me, even if it won't solve the problem at least it might show if this is how the rest of them should be doing it.

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BBC deletes Blue Peter from BBC One

Snark

Re: Janet Ellis?

Caron Keating, so sad when she died in 2004 of Breast Cancer at just 41 :(

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Button batteries BURN KIDS FROM INSIDE

Snark
Thumb Up

Worth knowing about

This is old news but it's well worth repeating. Some of those batteries are really tiny and very small children put everything in their mouths and new parents tend to be very harried and sleep deprived so it's easy to just put something down for a moment when you suddenly hear a crashing noise when they've pulled something over and then forget about it.

I've heard some of the outcomes before and on the list of "things I have to do to keep my house safe" this may well not come on peoples radars and it's a really serious and horrible thing to happen, so it's well worth highlighting.

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Ten... freeware gems for new PCs

Snark
Thumb Up

Evernote

Bvckup looks like a great little tool, very simple and clean and does exactly what you want, I've just switched to using it. I'd second Secuna PSI and also add Evernote. For keeping my lists, notes and otherstuff together whichever machine I am working on it's great and the amount of free space given is more than enough for most peoples needs without paying for more.

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Laptop computers are crap

Snark

Oddly

When choosing a new laptop last night I surprised myself with going with a 14" simply because it was smaller, lighter and easy to take with me than the 15.6" I'd been looking at. I already have a desktop with loads of disk and big monitors so it suddenly occured to me I wanted a laptop to well, have on top of my lap and to travel with me and I was more likely to do that if it wasn't a brick. If only ultrabooks were cheaper though...

Good article though and if I only had one machine I'd agree with just about everything said.

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Apple drops 'thermonuclear' patent bombshell

Snark
Happy

Almost got me...

You had me believing it until you got an answer back from Apple when you pressed them. Now that was totally unbelievable, everyone knows they'll never talk to El Reg.

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Hobbit movie locations using 6km of data cabling

Snark
Happy

Lets get to the important bits of the article

Screw the amount of cabling, 200 to 300 coffees a morning. Mmmm. Now that's a good morning. Where's the I'm very very very manic happy grin icon.

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Microsoft drops 'risky' Windows 8 preview on World

Snark
Thumb Down

Re: Re: OK thats horrible

Well actually yes I do think it's difficult to find. One thing I like about using a "touch" device is its mostly intuitive what to do. If people are moving to a more "intuitive" interface then I'd hope simple tasks to be intuitive. Going to a settings menu to turn off my power is not, I am afraid, an intuitive leap. I consider changing my power state to be an action, a task, not a setting... though I guess it's a fairly persistant one.

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Snark
IT Angle

OK thats horrible

I downloaded it, willing to give it a chance, hopeful people were just being anti-MS. I installed it in a VM, really impressed with how quick and smoothly it went, thought hmmm maybe this will be good.

omg.. thats horrible.

I am sorry, but any OS which I have to read the online-freaking-help to work out how to shutdown (and then can't believe what it's told me) has jumped the shark. What's wrong with a friendly "poweroff" button on the Metro UI?

IT? because... I can't see much IT in this thing.

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Powerful, wallet-sized Raspberry Pi computer sells out in SECONDS

Snark
Thumb Up

Congrats to them

No seriously, no sarcasm (wow, thats so rare for me). My hats off to them for all the struggle and tears and work they've put into this off their own backs because they believed in it and have actually got some sold.

I bet you many people pooh-poohed them ever reaching market as they read the various blogs and announcements of plans and then eventual delays and issues that crept out. How many projects have you followed that looked so promising but never had the drive to get to that fabled 1.0 version and just disappeared in a whiff of disappoinment.

These guys, on a shoe string, and mostly by goodwill have found a way to get this thing shipped in a way that gives them a breathing space and hopefully lets them concentrate on what they want to do rather than having breakdowns and financial ruin. Every step of their process has been finding the best possible compromises whether it be time scales, or components, to keep to their design goal of price.

We've seen the hit even big companies like PC World/Comet have taken when there is great demand (HP I am looking at you) so congrats on having the same effect at 6 frigging am on two suppliers. Congrats on finding a business model that keeps you going and lets more of these be built going forward without the headache of continually financing it you've had upto now. Congrats on (without a marketing campaign) getting people talking about this and getting it shown prime time and getting people interested enough to decide whether its going to offer them something they want.

Ignore the nay-sayers about the validity of the project (personally I think its a great thing) you have actually done it and whilst it wasn't a 100% smooth launch, you've acted respectably (I love the way you are going after the ebay fleecers...) and done something damn near impossible because you believed in it and should be proud of everything you've done.

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Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz shows his caring side

Snark
FAIL

Like many of the things he did at SUN, this seems to be a solution chasing a problem (he should watch Dragon's Den to find the general opinion of those...). People seem to have got by quite well with lists on paper and I just can't see anyone paying for this (though I'm happy to be proved wrong). Personally with those whose care I hope with, I'd rather spend the extra $5 a month on the individual being cared for.

Still at least this time he's learnt and is trying to charge for something...

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Muscle pants give girls that skin-stripped look

Snark
Coat

Posted by Hard Reg *snigger*

I guess you liked them. nuff said

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IT guy answers daughter's Facebook rant by shooting her laptop

Snark
Megaphone

It's interesting following it somewhere else http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/319370 .

It brings out that she has repeatedly been warned/grounded and that there would be more consequences if this didn't stop. It also talks about his refusal to speak to the media about it, for which I give him much respect. In todays age so many people would be all over the press to get their moment of fame. No, it sounds like he had a point to make to her and her friends, he made it, and thats the end of it. I most like the comments that they discussed it together after, and all the reactions its been getting. Maybe it's made her think a little more about the shadow/image she has been casting making those sorts of comments publically about those she is closest too.

Whilst I can't say I am comfortable with the whole shooting thing, I wonder how much of that is cultural and to him/his family firearms are more common place and so are considered a "tool" rather than a figure of violence as most of us brits would see them. Whether this was the right action to take, or an over reaction (personally I think it was a perfect case of the punishment fitting the crime making it public) I can however unreservedly applaud his decision to take some time and then as calmly as any parent can go "here are the consequences" rather than getting in a screaming shouting match with said teen with lots of slamming of doors, slaps and angry harsh words said. That never helps anything and really does lead to resentment.

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Netflix vs Lovefilm

Snark

I've had Lovefilm for awhile and am trialling Netflix. Some random thoughts. It's annoying the lovefilm "£4.99 streaming only for a year" i only for new subscribers. As an existing subscriber, if I drop down to it it's £5.99 so comparable to Netflix.

Lovefilm online content has been terrible for ages (if you don't want to pay per view on new releases). Netflix coming along seems to have given them a kick and they have started getting some newer releases. It's also noticable they have just signed with ABC so have suddenly added a whole load of series (Castle, etc) which is encouraging (though annoying as I prefer Netflix).

Netflix is never going to go for "new" releases on films and tv, they've said it's just not economical on a "all you can eat" package. They are always going to add things post the movie companies getting their money from DVD rentals/sales. For now, they seem to have a wider back catalogue than Lovefilm, so stuff to take your interest but not the way to replace upto-date DVD rental or Sky/Virgin.

The Netflix website is simple, clean, and whilst yes its missing things like forums and such, it doesn't feel like I'm pulling teeth out. The Lovefilm website is just horrible to browse through. Horrible, horrible, horrible. I can browse Netflix on my PC, find what I want and do a quick search on the Xbox to get it up. The Netflix apps have a few annoyances and I have seen some random buffering issues, but not sure if this was down to net speed or netflix suffering (as it was a sunday night, no one was on tv). Generally though it's been flawless and the picture quality good.

So at the moment, the ideal would be both. Lovefilm for DVD + newer releases streaming, Netflix for large back catalogue. In the end one will win out for me, and it's looking towards Netflix if they can add more content. Obviously it's early days so nothing new has been added in the two weeks they've been open, but they are promising a bunch more TV series "in the next couple of days" on their facebook page. What comes on will probably decide a lot of people whether to stay with the trial.

I agree with everyone who says exclusive content deals is totally unhelpful to the media studios campaigns to get people to buy/rent/pay and not pirate.

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Kids should be making software, not just using it - Gove

Snark
Thumb Up

About time

I've been horrified what my son has been taught in ICT. Let them learn Word as part of an assignment in English, Excel in an assignment to maths. Relevant, directed, and a break from some of the other stuff but showing how its useful. They can take that to other wordprocessor and spreadsheets once they know what they are for.

About time they might learn to be more than users but stretch them a bit. Not so sure about the let people decide what to teach them, that sounds scary to me... More postcode lottery.

Bring on the Pi though, I was most pleased for my 13 year old to sound excited by it and ask when he could get one!

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Netflix goes live in Blighty

Snark
Devil

Netflix vs Lovefilm article

Andrew Orlowski's netflix vs lovefilm article doesn't allow comments so as it's relevant to the Netflix launch I thought I'd comment here.

His premise is that there isn't much standalone market for the content Netflix offers. You have Sky and Virgin for TV and it's not going to displace them. Fair enough, I am not going to be getting rid of Virgin and my V+ box to watch new programmes. As he says, the kind of content on Netflix fills up the repeat channels. Also true, but it's so awkward to coherently watch a series repeated on a repeat channel. You get an episode here, an episode there, suddenly a gap and you never know if it will come back again. Heck, I never watch those channels except for filler for that very reason, it's just too much like hard work to try and watch an old series in any sequential order (CSI series 6 then series 2 then series 5 then...).

No, what I want with my "not first run" TV is to watch it when I want, as I want, in the order I want. I want some some of service that lets me watch demand when I want to watch my video rather than hunting for it and having to keep it on my PVR for how knows long til I can piece together a series. Hey, what I want is a VoD service! I am actually really enjoying going back to watching things I didn't get round to first time or haven't seen in a bit. I've started Inspector Morse from the start. Coupling is on my list to rewatch. I missed several years of 24 which I can now watch when I want.

It has already affected Virgin for me. I had a TiVo on order (just to make the "finding those things" easier) but as I can do find a bunch of programmes to work through without moving up from V+, and without paying the extra install and monthly charge.... It's cancelled. I'm happy to stick to Netflix to give me more managable content for now. I'm also happy not to have to play the Virgin game of "which series will be available this month" on VoD.

Would it make me drop Virgin or Sky or going to the cinema? No. Will it make me stop watching those channels full of repeats? Heck yes. Would I sit and watch a repeated film on BBC or ITV when I can go and choose the older film *I* want to watch? Heck no.

If either Netflix or Lovefilm manage to keep filling up their back catalogue I humbly propose those filler channels that don't make original content are the ones a decent VoD removes the need for. If Netflix caught on I could see their adverising as being the real loser in a Netflix vs Lovefilm battle.

I hope Netflix manage to add back catalogue of more US shows then I'd be a very happy consumer.

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Snark
WTF?

Re: Hmmm

Hmmm ok, starting to hate some things about the Xbox app. Why did they remove party just before they launched over here? Where is the recently watched list? Why the hell does it start playing something as soon as you go into the series? (In other words most of the complaints people in the US have been making since their update last month).

Sadly though, it still less annoying than the lovefilm one, which says how bad that is...

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Snark

Hmmm

Well I thought I'd give it a try to see how it compared to lovefilm as hey its a free trial.

First impressions

A lot better selection of 'older' programmes and films than I expected from the meagre few shown on the pre-sign in pages (lovefilm score on that, letting you browse the actual library rather than just a few highlights). Definitely enough to fill in some gaps on some series I haven't seen all of or didn't catch first time around and werent worth buying the boxsets or renting at individual prices. Definitely some I want to see that are missing, but they are only 'DVD' on Lovefilm as well, and generally its a much better list than Lovefilms.

The interface is SO much better than Lovefilm. Lovefilm seriously sucks if you just want to browse and it sucks even more browsing streaming. You can't just think I'm bored, I wonder whats on... its hard work wading through page after page after page. I've ended up giving up for streaming and just looking at the full A-Z. This is actually pleasant to use and browse around, just hovering over things to see more detail rather than click and wait and click and wait. The "training" of what you like is kinda fun just going round rating things you've seen and then waiting for it to suggest stuff.

I've only tried streaming on the Xbox and it's got the same crisp interface I remember from the US version, quick to navigate around, comfortable to use, streaming quality good (if a little quiet).

So far, thumbs up. It's a 'good' launch start that feels well prepared for.

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Doctor Who girl Amy Pond axed in 'heartbreaking' exit

Snark
Unhappy

Nooooooo

You've ruined Christmas now! How does it feel to be the Grinch!

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The new touchy-feely Doctor Who trend: Worrying

Snark

It works

It works. Don't ask me why it works as some of the RTD writing leaves me cold, but it works. Why do i say that? Because the kids will go to school the Monday after to talk about. They'll make sure they've seen it so they can go talk about it. American friends who could never get into the often padded (but I still love) 'classic' Dr Who and who could never get it have commented that their kids will watch it. I grew up sitting watching it with my family as a "must not miss" sit down all together event. It's that again, and in era where it's an effort to drag the kids away from the lastest Xbox masterpiece it's a pleasure to have something fun, sometimes smart and thought provoking, exciting and above all, not full of sex and swearing or reality tv dross that they want to sit and watch with you. We've had some great conversations after it stretching from science, to history to morality. There aren't that many shows that can provoke that nowadays and long may it carry on. I can't watch it the way I did as a child, because I'm much much older now. I love that my kids can though.

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Snark
Alien

This is...

Pretty awesome. Not the article, but the dual aspects of a) the number of upvotes on the "Amy Pond Bondage Handcuffs, complete with matching redheaded temptress?" comment and b) that I think this is the longest run of comments on an IT thread that doesn't have a "Where the IT? angle" icon on it. That kind of says something about the place (love it or hate it) Dr Who has in the hearts of Brit (and other) geeks.

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BT Tower falls over, crushes X Factor hopefuls

Snark
Happy

It's so fluffy...

That kitten is so damn cute, thankyou for making my day. I haven't seen that clip in years and years.

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El Reg in SHOCK email address BLUNDER

Snark
Mushroom

Shocking

That's it, I demand a full refund of my remaining subscription. What? I don't pay? Oh well I guess I can't be too hard on you then ;-)

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